Renzo Piano’s minimalist Diogene is a validation of the old saying, “big things come in small packages.” The Genoa-born architect designed the 6 ½ foot-by-6 ½ foot, self-sufficient cabin for furniture maker
Diogene, which is named after the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes, who purportedly lived in a barrel and renounced all worldly possessions, is equipped with the barest provisions necessary for a single-inhabitant’s survival. To the naked eye, the cabin, with its clean design and warm wood interior, appears sleek and minimal. In reality, it is filled with complex technical systems that ensure its self-sufficiency.
The cabin has a timber frame, wood interior, and an aluminum cladding system that is suitable for a wide variety of climate conditions. Rainwater is collected in a tank, filtered, and used in the shower and kitchen. It is equipped with a biological toilet. Photovoltaic panels provide electricity, and hot water is supplied by a solar water heater.
The mobile home is not meant to serve as an emergency refuge, but as a temporary hideaway, studiolo, or weekend home. It intentionally does not include a telephone line or WiFi connection, encouraging occupants to communicate with the outside world without being dependent on technology.
In June, the single-unit cabin was installed on the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany. It sits now on the lawn opposite the VitraHaus, where it is available for public viewing.